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"Admella" : 11-June-2011
"Admella" : 11-June-2011

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The monument commemorates the 150th anniversary of the wreck of "Admella" in 1859 and is dedicated to Captain James Fawthrop and the crews of the Portland life-boat who assisted in the rescue of survivors. The 150th anniversary of the disaster was marked in August 2009 by events across the south east of South Australia and at Portland, Victoria. 

SS Admella was an Australian passenger steamship that was shipwrecked on a submerged reef off the coast of Carpenter Rocks, south west of Mount Gambier, South Australia, in the early hours of Saturday 6 August 1859. Survivors clung to the wreck for over a week and many people took days to die as they glimpsed the land from the sea and watched as one rescue attempt after another failed.

With the loss of 89 lives, mostly due to cold and exposure, it is one of the worst maritime disasters in Australian history. Admella disaster remains the greatest loss of life in the history of European settlement in South Australia. Of the 113 on board 24 survived, including only one woman, Bridget Ledwith. Of the 89 dead, 14 were children. 

The Portland lifeboat which had been towed to the scene by Ladybird had made an earlier attempt to reach the wreck but was driven back by the raging seas. Now it was finally successful in coming alongside the wreck and the remaining 19 survivors jumped and fell into the boat. They were transferred to Ladybird which returned to Portland. The lifeboat is now housed in the Portland Maritime Museum. 

Lifeboat stations were established by Colonial governments in response to the risk to trade from loss of life, humanitarian compassion and to follow the lead of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNL1 - England) in providing lifeboats and organising volunteer crews, and the Board of Trade, which established a Coast Guard service in Great Britain, to rescue shipwreck survivors from the shore.

Lifeboat stations were located at Port Fairy, Portland, Queenscliff, Warrnambool and Port Albert (Victoria), Newcastle and Sydney (New South Wales) and Port MacDonnell, Robe - Beachport and Adelaide (South Australia).


Address:Bentinck Street, Foreshore, Portland, 3305
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -38.341914
Long: 141.607136
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:10-August-1859
Actual Event End Date:10-August-1859


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:August-2009
Front Inscription

1859 - 2009
Commemorating a tragedy ; Celebrating volunteerism


Dedicated to Capt. James Fawthrop and the crews of the Portland Life-Boat whose heroic actions include rescue of 19 of the 24 survivors from the wreck of the Admella on Carpenter Reef, S.A.

13 August, 1859

Admella 150 Commemoration

Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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